"This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."
This may have been a long time coming, but I want to weigh in on the Boy Scouts for a second. Yes, they are in the news. They have been in the news before. They will be in the news again. I will address that, but overall I just wanna talk about them.
I was in the Boy Scouts. I dropped out somewhere around First or Second Class. I am not sure which because at the time I was a teenager and did not care. Sure, I probably had some half assed reasons, but I know all I really wanted to do was play video games, read and play guitar and none of those things can be done in the woods for very long. So that’s my experience.
I want to point out that I know several folks that were also in Boy Scouts. Most of them are shiftless layabouts like me. Some, however, made it all the way to Eagle Scout. Does that make them better than me? Yes. Yes, it does. They committed, had drive, did all the tricks, wrote all the essays, serviced the hell outta there communities and were all around truly great guys. And they still are. I think right now on all the people I know would help me out in a second without hesitation, at least two of them were Eagle Scouts. I cannot say this is the same for all Eagle Scouts, but in my experience they are pretty awesome people.
Scouts in itself is a great experience. I learned to build a fire and tie, like... three knots. I learned to play chess and how to run like hell through the woods during a tornado*. I learned about all the creepy crawlies out there in the woods and how to treat a wound that said creepy crawlies would inflict on you. Hell, I learned how to build a bridge that you could walk on from one side of the parking lot to the other. All great and useful skills.
So with all this love for Scouts, why are they such big assholes? Two words: Money and Adults. Were these two things not a factor in scouting, every boy and girl could go about their business learning all that great nature stuff with abandon. I will not even blame religion (even though I could) because the tenets of the religion say “be nice to everyone.” No, adults throwing their beliefs around and threatening withdrawal hurts scouting.
You know what does not care if you are gay? Fuckin bear**. On a hike in the woods, if you come across a bear and that sumbitch decides you need to die, he does not care who you kiss goodnight. I would hold most of nature feels the same way. With joy in my heart, I can say a lot of Eagle Scouts feel the same way, and are turning in their badges to face discrimination. Another reason Eagle Scouts are awesome. They get it. The idea that an organization that helps people, children, believe in themselves and work together telling children they do not belong and are not worthy of inclusion is sickening and hypocritical and makes me want to take back every good comment I have previously given the scouts.
As for the overweight children not being invited to the Jamboree***, that one’s tough. While I never went to a Jamboree that I couldn’t sit out most of the time, I also never went to one where we did not do some type of physical activity. Touch football, horrible hikes, swimming, all that crap. And I was an overweight kid, swimming in my t-shirt and all that shit, so I know what being left in the dust wheezing feels like. But instead of exclusionary activities, maybe give incentives? Scholarships? Something the little bastards can reach for? I dunno. There’s no easy answer to this question. I grew up in a time where yelling “com’on, fatboy” didn’t send me to the psychiatrist, it made me go home and write more. It made me feel like shit, but I used that and ran with it. And I’m the kid who dropped out. If a kid is still in the program, he may just make it out okay. Who knows?
Maybe it is time to wrest away control of our children from the men with the money and the beliefs. Wonder if anyone would be interested in funding a new scouting program run by libraries, based on boys and girls who want to learn how to work together and live in harmony with nature? To build a new community outreach based on the innocence of our children, harnessing their raw creativity and wonder about life and make ourselves and our world better? Could that program exist? Could the nation’s libraries make it happen?
I could teach a kid a knot or three.
Apparently this is still a thing and I drunkenly made an account last year sometime. Join me? Mostly just another outlet for the Story Time, but who knows... Maybe some exclusive stuff? Maybe... not? Banned Library on MySpace
*If it is raining, you are fine, keep running. If not... it was a good life.
**Not that kind of bear.
***Yep, they still call it that. Irony? No jam.